There are some books, blogs and podcasts that as writers, we keep coming back to because of the inspiration and motivation they offer.
Two books by Steven Pressfield, have been eye-openers for me. The first book that helped me understand and slay the dragon of resistance, was The War of Art. Another book that has challenged me – which I’ve been re-reading lately – is his book on how to turn professional and create your life’s work by Turning Pro.
This book has challenged me in my goals as a writer in so many ways that I thought I’d write a post to share what I learned…
Some tips that help writers to Turn Pro…
I’ve discovered to a greater degree that the decision to be a professional writer, is one I must make everyday.
This is why, I am choosing to blog only on Thursdays of each week… so I can get more writing done. I see this as a experiment, to see if this improves the number of books I can write and self-publish.
Resistance tries its best to stop us from writing that book, and I have many times given in.
Reading through this book has challenged me to choose whether to be a professional or amateur.
I hope you find these thoughts helpful in your own writing journey.
1.Resistance does it’s best to keep us shallow and unfocused… and hates it when creatives have concentration and depth. Resistance will do everything it can to make you addicted to all things superficial and shallow.
This is a big one that I’ve dealt with over and over again. Ask yourself if you’ve checked social media or your email in the last hour. I still struggle with this most days, but it helped for me to choose to no longer check email or social media until noon each day. There are still days that I struggle, but wow, just the conscious choice to turn off email and social media during creative time, has made a big difference.
Choose to no longer multi-task. Your Muse doesn’t like distractions.
2.Plan your activities so that you can accomplish a goal. Steven Pressfield says, we now structure our hours not to flee from fear, but to confront it and overcome it. We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. And we bring our will to bear so that we stick to this resolution. This changes our days completely. This is how the work – your goal – gets done. A professional writer’s days are focused around writing, researching or some other aspect of reaching their goal of their latest book. When you create and do your best to stick to your goals, this empowers you to say no to things that don’t fit in that framework.
3.Consider the difference between an amateur and a professional. This really struck home as I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. Steven Pressfield makes the distinction: The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. A professional has professional habits. A professional writers has habits that they’ve chosen to put in their life around how they will get their books written, with the main habit being that they get the writing done. Successful pro writers like Steven Pressfield, have many books that they continue to produce even when some of those books aren’t selling like they expected. A pro doesn’t stop writing just because of short term disappointments. Over time, as they continue to write, they produce a body of work.
4.I learned in this book that… there are two rewards for what we do as professional creatives. There is the customary reward of attention, applause and money. And there’s also the psychological reward, which is expressing our own creativity which brings amazing benefits to each of us as artists. Many times the practice of writing will keep us creating, even when the normal customary reward isn’t there.
5.On the field of the self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon. The battle must be fought anew every day. These are powerful words by Steven Pressfield and have really helped me to battle fear and insecurity when I’m writing. Each day, I have to begin and win this battle and choose to be a professional writer. Many days I lose this battle, but I’m choosing still, to keep fighting resistance everyday. I feel like I’m beginning to head in the right direction and develop more creative output. Writing is not an easy skill to learn and be consistent at, but I’m convinced it’s one that has so many benefits and rewards.
I encourage you to buy this book.
I hope these thoughts from Steven Pressfield ‘s book, inspire you to write the books that keep you awake late at night. I re-read through this book at least once a year, and it truly lights a fire under me and inspires me to keep writing. A read through of a chapter or two is just what the doctor ordered on days when resistance is especially brutal.
Do any of these statements resonate with you and your writing journey? What is your biggest struggle as a writer? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.